Time for the Eagles to look inside themselves

Ed Benkin
November 20, 2018 - 8:33 pm
Doug Pederson

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- For the first time in a long time, the character of many of the Eagles is being questioned.

As the team went through a humiliating defeat in New Orleans, many were trying to determine the pulse of the team as the lead for New Orleans increased.  Was it ugly because the Saints are just that good or was the will to win sapped out of many of the Eagles as the points continued to pile up?  Getting blown out by the powerful Saints was one thing, but how did the players react to such a beatdown?

Malcolm Jenkins tried to find some answers as the team got back to work on Tuesday.

"A team jumps on you like the Saints did and things get rolling," said Jenkins.  "You find out a lot about yourself.  You're going to get blown out regardless.  You're either going to get blown out swinging or blown out laying down, and I think you had a little bit of both."

When the Eagles rolled towards a Super Bowl title last season, they left the wreckage of a host of teams in their wake.  There were several moments in 2017 when Doug Pederson's squad was able to dance on the graves of their football victims.  The Eagles, like any team in the NFL, were able to savor the moments in a blowout.  For Brandon Graham and his teammates, it was difficult being on the other end last week.

"You see them out there having fun," Graham said.  "They were just dancing on us, and we know what that felt like because we were on the other end of that last year.  It was tough.  I think a lot of people were feeling bad during that time."

READ: Eagles 48-7 drubbing in New Orleans has fans doing some 'soul searching'

It is always easy for teams to use injuries as an excuse.  The Eagles had their share of players go down in 2017, but several positions have been hit harder this season.  The area that has been damaged the most is the secondary.  Rodney McLeod and Ronald Darby are out for the season.  Jalen Mills and Sidney Jones do not appear to be ready to return anytime soon.  Jenkins says it's time for the reserves who are being called on to prove they belong in the National Football League.

"This situation is not for the faint of heart or the weak-minded," said Jenkins.  "We need real men who don't mind getting beat, who don't let other teams making plays bother them because we're going to have to weather a ton.  We understand there's inexperience back there.  We don't expect everyone to be perfect, but we expect whoever is out there to compete and fight."

So where do the Eagles go from here?  At 4-6, this team is still somehow in the race for the NFC East title.  It's a statement more reflective on the sad state of the division.  The reality for the Eagles is that wins over the Giants, Redskins and Cowboys over the next three weeks may actually give them a better chance to win the division.  That is easier said than done these days.  With a season of subpar play by many and a host of injuries at different positions, beating a Giants squad on Sunday that the Eagles crushed early in the season is far from a sure thing, and unlikely if the Eagles continue to play the way they have been playing.  

"We've got three NFC games that could change everything," Graham said.  "We've just got to get a win."